They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David.”
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Running Orders, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
Making sense of it.
Remembering it. The feeling.
In the hours of first hearing about terrible event X, whatever moment I still can’t name. An incident, a tragedy, a violence. An event you don’t want to name after the person who perpetrated it - namely because it doesn’t feel like a one-person action. An event you don’t want to name after a place, because it happens every where.
In the minutes after I hear myself yelling at the radio, cringing at the language used by reporters - reporting just to report, not to dig deep, not to understand, not to make sense of it because who can make sense of it in the minutes hours days after such things happen - I find myself thirsting for logic. Craving a voice of rage, not of reason. Often, these come best in the form of frantic emails to close friends, stream of consciousness rambles, the raw anger that is allowed, allowed, allowed.
My way of processing these things have changed lately. I used to be tempted to do as many do: share articles the day of, the day after, the days after. To share them, as if that act of sharing lets others know you are reading about the same death(s), the same women, that you are remembering their names. Names like Loretta. Christina. And when they aren’t named, remembering their ages, the voices of their parents, their friends. Often it makes me relive the awful sinking feeling I felt the first time I heard of the awful thing, the awful thing I can’t yet name.
So, nearly a month later, after remembering to breathe, and reading to try and make sense of things, I think I can do it. Because it feels important to share these words. Because their words helped me sleep at night, to know that people are naming these things, finding the words when I and so many others still cannot.
- What a close read of the Isla Vista shooter’s horrific manifesto, “My Twisted World,” says about his values—and ours by Jeff Yang (May 27, 2014)
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds by Arthur Chu (May 27, 2014)
- The Ultimate Humiliation by Sarah Nicole Prickett (May 30th, 2014)
- When killers target women, why do moderate men stand silent? by Denise Balkissoon (May 26, 2014)
- Elliot Rodger and Men Who Hate Women by Anne Thériault (May 24, 2014)
- Let’s call the Isla Vista killings what they were: misogynist extremism by Laurie Penny (May 25, 2014)
“Of the four (or maybe five) women killed around Santa Ana, the body of only one—Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21, a pretty-faced white single mother—was found. It was found in Anaheim, on a conveyor belt, at a trash-sorting facility, and when I read this I quietly screamed. A useless scream, because of course, the word for these women is disposable. Because the state won’t nanny them and the cops won’t leave them alone and the robbers of their lives feel like, well, she was selling it anyway, it wasn’t like breaking into a home. Not like killing someone’s wife, for example. And, at the same time, a lot like a man killing his wife. For she whom the gods would destroy, they first make a “whore.” Ask a man who’s hit a woman, if he’ll tell you. Ask a woman who’s been hit, and she will: “whore” is the oldest name in the book and the first one said when a man feels his worst feeling, which is humiliation, or the shock of not being a man. Not all men, don’t worry, only all the men I’ve known, and all the men my friends have known, and not only them, but all of us, all of us who think strippers and sex workers and suburban wives and/or stuck-up blond sorority girls are something less than or betraying either the feminine or feminist ideal, all of us who make these crimes by emasculation feel as common, and unstoppable, as acts of god.”
– The Ultimate Humiliation by Sarah Nicole Prickett (May 30th, 2014)
“The time of the photograph is [always] after. This imprecision accommodates the numerous successions, the end upon seismic end, in a time without time, un[re]countable: still. In this, it is a perfect crime, “l’anéantissement anéanti, la fin… privée d’elle-même.””
– Nathanaël, Sisyphus, Outdone.: Theatres of the Catastrophal (p. 45)
“There ought to be books for sleeping : in the most vicious style, with barely chewable words, long as fingers, words that twirl into incomprehensible silver curlicues at the end ; consonantal knickknackeries (or at most an occasional dark vowel in ) : books to fight thoughts.”
-Arno Schmidt (via plzpityshatov)
if anyone knows the book/text this comes from, let me know
“And this doubt grows around you. This doubt is alone, it is the doubt of solitude. It is born of it, of solitude. At least the word can be named. I think a lot of people couldn’t bear what I’m saying here; they would run away. Perhaps that’s why everyone isn’t a writer. Yes. That’s it. That’s the difference. That’s the truth. Nothing else. Doubt is writing. Thus, it is also the writer. And with the writer, everyone writes. We’ve always known that.”
Marguerite Duras (via batarde)
Marguerite would have been 100 today.
I WAS ALWAYS TURNED ON BY THE ANONYMITY OF PRIVACY. LIKE MANY, I EXPLORED MY ADOLESCENT SEXUAL CURIOSITY IN AIM CHAT ROOMS, CAT-FISHING FOR THE REPRESSED BABY-BOOMERS WHO NEVER ENJOYED SUCH A LUXURY IN THEIR OWN YOUTH. MY FIRST BLOWJOB AND THE FIRST TIME I WAS FUCKED WERE…
Holy shit this is powerful.
“Great fashion writing doesn’t reduce everything to what is for sale, what’s hot and not. Great fashion writing looks at clothing and the uses of clothing with the same amount of cultural reverence we give a Lars von Trier movie or the U.S. Open, as something that exists, and it asks why it exists, and how it fits into its larger culture.”
– Haley Mlotek, On Lena, On Rihanna, On Kimye: The Very Necessary Death Of “Vogue” (March 24th, 2014)
"[WOC Selfies are] not designated for white consumption; it’s not even about my consumption - it’s about the picture being theirs and whatever they would like to do with it. It signifies humanity and personhood; away from whiteness and independent of whiteness. The possibility of being possible on one’s own terms."
I wrote a post about brown and black girl selfies, why self-representation is important, and why they’ve helped me down the road with regards to self-esteem in the face of white beauty standards.
A love letter to all my woc friends I’ve met on the internet.
“There is no language in itself, nor are there any linguistic universals, only a throng of dialects, patois, viperslangs, and specialized languages. There is no ideal speaker-listener, any more than there is a homogeneous linguistic community. Language is, in Weinreich’s words, “an essentially heterogeneous reality.” There is no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language within political multiplicity. Language stabilizes around a parish, a bishopric, a capital. It forms a bulb. It evolves by subterranean stems and flows, along river valleys or train tracks; it spreads like a patch of oil.”
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia